After extensive fund-raising and massive community involvement, construction on the 22,000-square-foot Sally's YMCA in East Lincoln County is scheduled to begin early this month.
Sally McKenzie Clark, 19, and her cousin Anna Grace Jordan, died in a car crash April 4, 2004. Sally's Y is expected to open in Denver in January 2011.
"What makes this Y unique and special is Sally's story - the idea that even if your life is a brief one, as hers was, (you should) live every day and make the most of every minute," said Beth Yarbrough, Sally's Y board member.
"She loved life and she loved people," said Clark's dad, David. "The Y always stood in my mind for the thing that Sally's life stood for - faith, family and friends."
A ground breaking ceremony is planned April 24 at 1601 Forney Creek Parkway. The event will feature refreshments, children's games and inflatables, musical entertainment, nature trail tours and additional family activities.
On April 25, Sally's Y also will host its third Annual Ride for Sally's Y in conjunction with the New Balance Girls on the Run 5K Trail Run. The 25K, 50K and 100K bike rides begin at 1 p.m. and benefit Sally's Y. The trail run begins at 1:30 p.m. and benefits Girls on the Run of Lincoln County.
Online registration is available at www.sportoften.com, or on-site registration will be 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on race day.
Sally Clark, a Charlotte Country Day graduate, was a freshman at Peace College and sang at Grace Covenant Church. Her parents, David and Jo, along with friends and family, decided to create a lasting memorial to celebrate what she loved.
Supporting a YMCA - whose mission is "to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all" - seemed like a natural extension of Clark's strong faith and passion for sports and the outdoors, according to her parents.
"We have come a long way and are extremely pleased by the outpouring of community investment in and excitement around putting a YMCA in East Lincoln County," said Ron Johnston, YMCA of Greater Charlotte community vice president.
A capital fundraising campaign has generated $7 million in pledged support to construct the first phase.
"In this challenging economy, that says a lot about the desire to have YMCA programs and services in East Lincoln County," Johnston said.
The Y joins CMC-East Lincoln as the second occupant of the 150-acre Forney Creek Park development near New Highway 16 and Optimist Club Road. Nestled in a pristine tract of family farmland, the new Y will be built "green."
"This Y will be one of the first of its kind in the Charlotte area to take on sustainability as a major theme," said Architect Dave Malushizky.
Every decision made in the design of the facility is geared towards reducing the impact on the environment.
The facility will provide outdoor adventure for all, from biking and walking trails, to high and low ropes courses to outdoor chapels.